Macquarie staff with science education colleagues at last week’s Intercultural Symposium. Back row [left to right]: Yohan Hwang, Professor David Christian, Cathie Howe, Professor David Treagust and Dr Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen. Front row [left to right]: Hyoung Kyu Koo, Professor Seung-Urn Choe, Dr Katherine Stewart, Professor Sona Martin, Dr Konju Mun, Dr Hye Eun Chu and Professor Joanne Mulligan. (Picture: Sang Mok Lee)
Last week, Macquarie hosted an Intercultural Symposium on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). Here, organisers Hye Eun Chu, Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen, Cathie Howe and Katherine Stewart report on the event, which was funded by the Australia-Korea Foundation.
Attended by more than 30 school teachers, school administrators and teacher educators from the Sydney area, as well as fellow science education colleagues from Curtin University, Seoul National University and Ewha Womans University in Korea, the Intercultural Symposium provided an exciting opportunity for attendees to discuss the new STEAM education initiatives in their respective countries.
“The event provided a great foundation for developing future collaborations between Australia and Korea,” says Dr Hye-Eun Chu, Chief Investigator of the Intercultural STEAM Project (ISP) at Macquarie University.
“I am hopeful this project will enable educators in Korea and Australia to offer their students more authentic science learning opportunities via the implementation of cross-cultural science lessons. I am also looking forward to having the Australian team visit us in Seoul,” adds Dr Sonya Martin, Co-Chief Investigator of the ISP at Seoul National University in Korea.
The contemporary approach to the STEAM Symposium meant that attendees were able to personally share ideas and possibilities with each other – a process that was heralded by Macquarie’s Dr Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen, an artist and collaborator on the ISP project.
“It was wonderful to see academics, teachers and students from across the globe coming together to improve the way we collaborate, communicate and create as a united community. It is my vision that symposiums like these will come together in the form of a Macquarie STEAM Academy in the future,” says Bronwen.
The symposium and ongoing project is now being seen as an opportunity to bring teachers and academics together to collaborate around STEAM learning.
“The process is great way to facilitate opportunities to share ideas, findings and, co-construct resources that will support the STEAM education community in both Australia and Korea,” says Cathie Howe, Manager of the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre.
Dr Kathy Stewart, a science educator at Macquarie, says that STEAM’s strength comes from its emphasis on teaching an integrated approach to learning both in undergraduate teacher education programs and in primary classrooms.
“The STEAM symposium adds a cultural emphasis and an added layer of meaning for learners. What better reason is there to learn but to share your understanding and your excitement about something new,” she says.
We invite staff to contribute stories – in their own voice – to help celebrate the diversity, passion and collaborative spirit of Macquarie staff.